Mustafa Emanet is the latest victim of Gülenists, who are accused of imprisoning their critics in sham trials or blackmailing them to bow out through illegal wiretapping and secret camera footage. For his work to reveal wrongdoings of Gülen charter schools in the United States, Emanet faced false charges in Turkey from police officers associated with the “parallel structure” or infiltrators from the Gülen Movement in law enforcement.
Although he is not a well-known figure, the 39-year-old IT technician who lives in Cleveland, Ohio in the United States, Emanet is actually the man behind an FBI inquiry that sent shockwaves among Gülenists in the United States as it could possibly lead to the closure of their network of charter schools in the country. His fight for justice for alleged fraud by Gülen schools that allegedly diverted federal grants to supporters of the movement, led police in Turkey linked to Gülenists to attempt to imprison him on drug charges of which he was later acquitted.
Emanet was hired by Chicago-based Concept Schools charter school network in 2006 as a computer network technician. His employment at one of the schools in Cleveland was not without its troubles, namely the seizure of 40 percent of his salary for “himmet,” a donation to the movement. He accepted it and continued working at the school where he met teacher Mary Addi, his future wife. It was only after Addi filed a lawsuit against the school chain for discrimination of women and Americans that Emanet saw the dark side of the movement. Teachers linked to the Gülen Movement pressed Emanet to divorce her after the lawsuit. While pressure increased, Emanet came across documents allegedly proving fraud at the school chain, ranging from a secret regulation by the movement to seize salaries of teachers it brought from Turkey and documents showing how school funds were diverted to companies linked to companies affiliated with the movement. He proceeded to present these documents to the courts that look into lawsuits filed by teachers at charter schools. Soon, Gülenists approached him to persuade Emanet to withdraw the documents. He said they asked him to sign a document in English that would acknowledge the documents he presented to the court were fake. He said Gülenists pressed him to withdraw the documents that they said: “Our schools in other countries will be closed down if schools in the United States are shut down.”
He was not daunted by the pressure and handed all documents proving the “dirty work” at the Gülen schools to the FBI in 2009. The FBI started a probe in 2011 based on the evidence and raided 19 schools operated by Concept Schools last year. “Unfortunately, the FBI acted too slow. They did not believe me for years,” he said.
Emanet returned to Turkey in 2009 for a visa renewal and one day before his appointment for renewal police raided his home in Istanbul as “a suspected international drug smuggler,” according to police. “There was an anonymous tip-off on packages of drugs dumped in a garbage container in Başakşehir [in Istanbul]. Police found 84 grams of heroin in small packages along with a cellphone and a fake ID with my photo on it,” he said. The cellphone had business messages he was accused of exchanging with a convicted drug dealer. It was the start of a legal process that would take one year before Emanet was acquitted after the messages were found to be false and the drug dealer testified that he did not know Emanet. “I was acquitted in the end, but Gülenists had wanted to stop me from returning to the United States. Otherwise, they wouldn’t act so fast to find and detain me,” he said.
Emanet said Gülenists had great clout in the United States. He mentioned Hüseyin “Shane” Ülker, chief information officer for Concept Schools, who was allegedly behind an invoicing scheme to divert E-rate funds – a type of federal grant to charter schools – worth $5 million to companies he was linked to. “Ülker left the city and then the country four days before the FBI raided [Concept Schools] last year. How can a foreign national be aware of an FBI raid beforehand? I presume they are protected by some people in high places,” Emanet claimed.
Concept Schools are among many schools operated by the Gülen Movement, which runs an international network of schools. The Gülen Movement, whose followers have been accused of terrorism for an attempt to overthrow the government through their infiltrators in the police and judiciary, draws major revenue from its schools.